5 Best Ways to Maintain A Healthy Diet As an African

Debbie Obierika
Debbie Obierika
I am a versatile writer with passion for curating interesting and thrilling content that wll keep my readers glued to their screen.

A healthy diet is essential for human growth and development. It is said that people who maintain a healthy diet have a longer life expectancy.

The African continent has a lot of staple foods as the main dishes for most countries, so it can be tough maintaining a healthy diet if the major foods and dishes are very high in carbs.

However, in this article, I would be sharing ways that Africans can maintain a healthy diet, improve their health and not have to relinquish some of their favorite meals.

What is a Healthy Diet?

Healthy diet
Healthy Diet

A healthy diet is a health-promoting and disease-preventing meal or meal. It provides adequacy without an excess of nutrients and health-promoting substances from nutritious foods and avoids the consumption of harmful health substances.

The key to a healthy diet is to eat the right amount of calories. A healthy diet entails eating a wide variety of foods in the right proportions and consuming the right amount of food and drinks to achieve and maintain healthy body weight.

There are a few things to do if you are considering having a healthy diet and improving your living via food;

  • Eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruits and vegetables every day
  • Base meals on higher fiber starchy foods.
  • Have more dairy or dairy alternatives to carbonated drinks 
  • Infuse more beans, fish, eggs, and other proteins into your meals.
  • Drink lots of fluids

If you are having foods and drinks that are high in fat, salt, and sugar, have them less often and in small amounts. Try to choose a variety of different foods from the main food groups to have access to a wide range of nutrients for a healthy diet.

Popular Foods Consumed by Africans

The African continent has a variety of meals that are eaten across borders and we will be mentioning a few from across the five regions in Africa such as domada, wasawasa, malva pudding, efo riro, gbegiri soup, dorowat, nyama choma, kenkey, waakye, mhajeb, chicken tagine and a whole host of other delicious meals.

Ways to Maintain a Healthy Diet as an African

There are a lot of ways to maintain a healthy diet as an African contrary to popular opinions that the majority of the meals are not healthy.

Infuse Vegetables into Meals

One way to maintain a healthy diet as an African is by infusing vegetables into the majority of your meals. Eating vegetables provides health benefits, and is an integral part of a healthy diet. Including vegetables in your meals reduces the risks of some diseases. Vegetables provide nutrients that are essential for the health and maintenance of the body. Most vegetables are low in calories and fats and this is essential for a healthy diet. The nutritional components of vegetables are numerous as it helps reduce the risk of heart diseases, including heart attacks and stroke.

Also eating meals rich in vegetables as part of an overall healthy diet may protect against certain types of cancers. Vegetables help increase fiber and potassium levels in the human body.

Eating Meals Rich in Vitamins

It is important to eat meals that are rich in vitamins such as A and C. There are varieties of African foods and fruits that are rich in vitamins such as Guava, African horned melon, broccoli, palm oil, sweet potatoes, carrots, eggs, spinach, liver, green beans as well as plantains.

Eating meals rich in vitamin A is very essential for a healthy diet because it is a fat-soluble micronutrient. It is found naturally in foods and can also be gotten through supplements. The body’s vision, immune system, reproduction, growth, and development rely on vitamin A. It helps in the proper functioning of organs such as the heart and lungs. Infusing vitamin A into your healthy diet also helps you have healthy teeth, skeletal and soft tissue, mucus membrane, and skin.

Vitamin C is also an essential nutrient for a healthy diet. The benefits of vitamin C are numerous, it helps maintain healthy skin and bones as well as reduces the risk of heart disease. Including vitamin C in your diet helps reduce iron deficiency and boosts the body’s immunity. Its antioxidant properties help fight free radicals and enhance brain function. 

The intake of meals rich in vitamins A and C is very essential for survival, so therefore to have a healthy diet try to infuse such foods and fruits into your meal plan.

Reduce Carb Intake

Carbs also called carbohydrates are a type of macronutrient found in certain food and drinks. Sugars, starches, and fibers are carbs.

Most of the major African dishes are made up, mostly of carbs and they lead to weight gain and risk of diabetes, heart disease, and high cholesterol. The digestive system of the human body breaks down carbs into glucose or blood sugar which is absorbed in your bloodstream and used as energy to fuel your body. Taking a lot of carbs can raise your blood sugar levels and high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) can put you at risk for diabetes.

Reducing your sugar intake is necessary for keeping blood sugar levels and maintaining a healthy diet. Also, sugary foods and drinks are often higher in calories which contributes to weight gain. It s advisable, that for a healthy diet reduce your intake of refined foods and foods that contain added sugar such as white flour, desserts, candy, juices, fruit drinks, carbonated drinks, and sweetened beverages.

Include Exercise in the Routine

There is a popular saying in Africa, that you need to be really overweight before you bother with routine exercise, because Africans are said to exercise daily through their different day jobs.

Exercise refers to physical activities carried out for fitness and body health. It is good to watch what you eat, but a healthy diet also requires some exercise.

There are so many ways exercising can benefit the human body for its growth and development, and I will be listing some of them;

  • Exercise helps control weight: Exercising helps prevent excess weight and helps maintain weight loss. Involving in physical activity helps burn calories and the more intense the physical activity, the more calories that are lost.
  • Exercise helps prevent health conditions and diseases: Regular exercise helps prevent or even manage many health problems and concerns such as stroke, metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, depression, anxiety, cancer as well as arthritis. it also helps boost cognitive functions and lowers the of death from all causes.
  • Exercise boosts energy: Regular physical activity can improve your muscular strength and boost your endurance. Exercises help deliver oxygen and nutrients to your tissues to help your cardiovascular system work more efficiently.
  • Exercise improves sleep: Exercising regularly helps you fall asleep better. Ensure you do not exercise before bedtime, you might be too energized to sleep.

Eat More Fruits

Fruits are very essential for a healthy diet as they are highly nutritious. Fruits are an excellent source of essential vitamins and minerals, and they are high in fiber. Fruits also provide a wide range of health-boosting antioxidants, including flavonoids. Eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables can reduce a person’s risk of developing heart disease, cancer, inflammation, and diabetes. Because they are low in saturated fat, salt, and sugar, fruits, and vegetables are part of a well-balanced diet that can help you lose weight or prevent weight gain. Plus, they can help you decrease inflammation, and lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure.

Trying to enforce the above-mentioned tip into your daily meals and routine will definitely create the perfect healthy diet that would lead to a healthier life expectancy. You do not have to let your favorite meals go, you only have to learn to add other nutritional items to your diet. I already started implementing some of the tips I shared, you should too and share them with us in the comments.

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Debbie Obierika
Debbie Obierika
I am a versatile writer with passion for curating interesting and thrilling content that wll keep my readers glued to their screen.

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